Christina Foust Interview

By Rob Zwetsloot. Posted

Last month we talked to Mister C about the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s new series of Digital Making streams. This month we talk to his most excellent US counterpart, Christina Foust from Raspberry Pi Foundation North America.

While she’s always been a part of the streams, more recent ones have been taking place much later in the day UK time so that they’re more accessible to American students. “We're having a lot of fun!” Christina tells us. “It's honestly the highlight of my week, and we're getting a positive response from the community. It's really been nice to connect with professionals and youth creators and share their experiences with the community. I'm excited to see where the live stream adventure takes us!”

How did you first learn about Raspberry Pi and related programmes?

Honestly, I learned about Raspberry Pi when I found the job listing in November 2017. I was in a temporary admin role supporting school while the principal was on parental leave, and I needed a job! I knew about Arduino because my dad made projects, and I knew about coding and Scratch because I was a teacher, but I had never heard of Raspberry Pi before. Even during the interview process, the focus was on our clubs’ programmes in the USA. Then when I got the job (YAY!) and was meeting all the teams, I truly started to grasp the global reach of both the hardware and our education programs.

The weekly streams have been running for months now, and you can catch them every Wednesday!

To be honest, I had friends who were familiar with Raspberry Pi and were confused by why/how Raspberry Pi had hired me, a former teacher and not an experienced hardware or software engineer. I also had friends who thought I made a career change and was working at a bakery. I share the above because I want folks who are reading this to know that they can and should apply to jobs that interest them. I got this job because I am an educator, I love kids, and I’m good at community engagement. If I had listened to one group of friends, I might have felt I wasn’t qualified to work at RPF or if I listened to another group, I might have thought that working at a place named after a fruit would be a poor career decision. Applying to this job was one of the best decisions I ever made.

How did the current Digital Making at Home streams come about?

Christina and Kevin Johnson help oversee the big USA version of Coolest Projects!

Digital Making at Home was (and still is!) our response to supporting young people and families staying at home this year. In March, we put together a small (virtual) team to think creatively about what we could do to support the community at this time while we are also staying home. We started with recorded code along videos and got feedback that folks wanted to interact with us live, so we created the live stream, and I absolutely love how it’s evolved to include conversations and coding with people from all over the world!

What other stuff have you done with the Foundation?

Being on the North America team, we’re such a small team that we all do a lot to realise the Foundation’s mission. So I’ve done a lot: events, clubs, Picademy, online courses! It’s amazing!

Any upcoming plans you can share?

I’m really excited about the work we are doing to prepare for Coolest Projects 2021! Stay tuned for how you can get involved!

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